Number of NI acute hospitals set to be halved

The number of acute hospitals in Northern Ireland could be cut by half as part of the biggest ever shake up of health services north of the border.

Under the proposals, GP’s would have to take on a much wider range of duties than at present.

This major review of how health and social care will be delivered was commissioned by the Stormont Assembly.

It recommends that the exisiting ten general hospitals in the North be reduced to five and points out that a region with a similar population in the UK would have just four acute care facilities.

The plan calls for many more patient services to be taken away from hospitals with GP’s taking reponsibility for a greater range of duties and diagnostic duties.

It also recommends much more co-operation with health service providers in the Republic, especially in border areas.

The plan will cost an extra £70million. To fund this over £80million would be taken from hospitals and transferred to GP and other services.